Parents and Educators: find resources for at-home and distance learning


135 minutes

9 / 10 / 11 / 12
English, Geography, Health, Reading or Language Arts

Students explore beliefs, strategies and actions related to the concept of Cradle to Cradle design, and make connections to their lives. They share their response to the question, “Why is it important for global citizens to understand the basic natural laws and principles?” during a formal Socratic Seminar discussion, supporting their responses with information from the following resources:

  • The NEXT Industrial Revolution (William McDonough and Michael Braungart, The Atlantic Monthly, October 1998)
  • A TedTalk by William McDonough on Cradle to Cradle design
  • Earth Basics for Sustainable Living, adapted from The Natural Step (
  • Biography Of TerraCycle Founder CEO Tom Szaky
180 minutes

3 / 4 / 5
Science, Social Studies

Students investigate the material cycles of their school, determine and analyze the amounts and types of materials produced. They learn about where material goes and the difference between what happens to what Nature makes versus what happens to what humans make. Based on what they discover, they create and propose a plan for material cycling in their school. Students will apply what they have learned about the material cycles to a problem in their home, school or community.

135 minutes

Kindergarten / 1 / 2
Arts, Mathematics, Science

This lesson wraps itself around the reading and discussion of a book about a little girl who learns about the materials cycle. Students are then engaged in a sorting and categorizing exercise to look at the similarities and differences between materials made by nature and materials made by people. The lesson ends in a design opportunity.

What does it mean to say that there is no such thing as “away”?
Where does paper come from?
Why should we be concerned about what happens to our waste?
What is the difference between how wastes are managed in nature versus by humans?
What are some ways you can apply the zero-waste philosophy in your daily life?
What are some common issues related to waste management?